He is not Superman, though he scales heights, navigates nature’s forces and plays as though he is bullet-proof.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University has officially announced that avid outdoorsman Gerald Nichols will be the new head coach of the men’s soccer team. Athletic Director Jesse Godding confirmed Monday morning that Nichols had accepted SAGU’s offer over the weekend.

“We are excited about the hiring of Gerald Nichols to lead our men’s soccer program,” Godding said. “Mr. Nichols brings a blend of spiritual, academic and athletic background that we believe will strengthen our students’ classroom experience and further enhance our soccer program.”

Nichols was at Oakland City University, near Evansville, Ind., where he was the head coach of the Mighty Oaks the past two years. A member of the NCAA’s Division II and, like SAGU, is also part of the National Christian College Athletic Association.

“I am very eager about this opportunity,” he said in a phone interview.

With camp beginning on Aug. 12, the Lions coach said the short lead-time to prepare will be an exciting adventure.

“I may not sleep much the next few weeks,” he laughed.

Nichols follows Aaron DeLoach, who took a youth ministry position in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he will also be a soccer coach for Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“Coach DeLoach poured himself into our soccer program over the last 18 months,” explained Godding. “We are thankful for his efforts and believe the SAGU men’s soccer program is stronger than at any time in its history due to his efforts.”

Southwestern finished the 2010 regular season with a 6-11 record. The squad is expected to return a solid core of players and a promising recruiting class.

Nichols, 52, was born in East Hanover, N.J. With his wife, Cheryl, they have two adult children: Ryan, 26, and Suzie, 23.

After graduating from Merritt Island H.S., he played soccer for three years at Florida Southern College, earning his bachelor of science degree (physical education). 

Nichols also has a master’s degree from Miami’s St. Thomas University (sports administration). He owns several coaching licenses: Class “C” from the USSF, a premier license from the NSCAA, and a regional goalkeeping coaching diploma.

Nichols, who will teach a health and fitness class at SAGU, is known as detail-oriented and is an organized tactician. His teams often play the possession and attack game.

His coaching resume is deep and includes posts at both the high school and college level.

On a personal level, he enjoys high-energy, outdoor activities ranging from hiking mountain trails to river kayaking. He has been a member of the Daytona Beach Police and Firefighters competitive paintball team.

The Lions play their first game on Saturday, Aug. 20, at home against Wayland Baptist University.

Contact Mark Warde, Southwestern Sports Information Director, at mwarde@sagu.edu, or at 469-658-2847.